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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

‘High intensity’ cyclone to reach Gujarat coast by May 18: IMD

Warm ocean to help rapid intensification of the cyclone

Written by Anjali Marar | Pune |
Updated: May 13, 2021 8:46:48 pm
The satellite image of a low pressure system formed over the southeast Arabian Sea on Thursday morning. (IMD)

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) Thursday said a high intensity cyclone, which is brewing in the Arabian Sea, is headed towards south Gujarat and Pakistan and will reach their coasts around May 18.

If realised, this will be the first cyclone to form in 2021 over the North Indian Ocean region. The warm ocean conditions prevailing during May often favour cyclogenesis in this region.

Once the system develops as a cyclone, it will acquire the name Tauktae, given by Myanmar.

On Thursday morning, a low pressure system developed in the southeast Arabian Sea and adjoining Lakshadweep area. It is expected to turn into a well marked low pressure system by Friday and intensify into a depression by May 15 and lay over the Lakshadweep region. Later, on May 16, the deep depression could further strengthen and take birth as a cyclone.

“It is very likely to intensify further and move north-northwards towards Gujarat and the adjoining Pakistan coast. It is likely to reach the Gujarat coast around the evening of May 18,” IMD said in a statement on Thursday.

The current low pressure system will intensify at least by four or more stages in a span of just three days, indicating a cyclone with higher intensity is most likely to develop over the Arabian Sea in the coming days. The possible track movement of the system will be clear and predictable with certain surety by the meteorologists only once the system turns into a depression.

“We are expecting very rapid intensification of the system within a short time. One of the contributory factors is the very high Sea Surface Temperatures that are currently prevailing over the Arabian Sea coupled with ocean thermal energy. It has been found that ocean waters, even up to a depth of 50 metres, are very warm. This, in turn, will supply more energy to the system via evaporational cooling and help rapid intensification,” Sunitha S Devi, senior scientist at the Cyclone Warning Division of IMD, told The Indian Express on Thursday.

As the system is expected to traverse from Lakshadweep all the way north to Gujarat, the maximum weather in the form of heavy to extremely heavy rainfall (over 204 mm) is expected over Lakshadweep, Kerala and Karnataka between May 14 and 16.

“The expected track to be followed indicates a north-northwestward track, as a result of which the rainfall intensity forecast for Goa and south Konkan is light to moderate rainfall,” she said.

According to the forecast, light to moderate rainfall is forecast over south Konkan and Goa and south Gujarat areas adjoining Kutch and southern Rajasthan during May 16-18.

Strong winds with speeds ranging between 40 km and 50 km per hour gusting to 60 km per hour are likely all along the west coast starting Saturday morning. Wind speeds are expected to increase to 70 km per hour till the evening hours of May 18. Due to such rough sea conditions, fishermen have been advised to stay away from the deep sea.

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